Is the future of transportation coming to Maryland?

High speed inter-city rail transportation in the United States is nearly nonexistent. Amtrak’s Acela Express in the Northeast Corridor, capable of speeds up to 150 mph, averages just 65 mph due to limitations of the existing track. But two proposals for trains using very different technology could radically change the future of transportation in the Northeast Corridor. Here’s an introduction to these game-changing technologies.

Elon Musk to start hyperloop project in Maryland, officials say

by Erin Cox and Sarah Gantz (Baltimore Sun), October 19, 2017

Maryland has given transportation pioneer Elon Musk permission to dig tunnels for the high-speed, underground transit system known as a hyperloop that Musk wants to build between New York and Washington.

Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover.

It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. Maryland’s approval is the first step of many needed to complete the multibillion-dollar project.

Administration officials said they will treat the hyperloop like a utility, and permitted it in the same way the state allows electric companies to burrow beneath public rights-of-way.

“We have all sorts of utilities beneath our roadways,” [Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete] Rahn said. “In essence, this didn’t need anything more than a utility permit.”

The Boring Co. aims to reduce traffic congestion by creating a low-cost, efficient system of tunnels. The company has developed tunneling machines it says will drill quickly through soft soils at a fraction of the cost of traditional tunneling.

The hyperloop technology uses electric motors and magnets to transport train cars through a low-pressure tube.  The firm has proposed building a similar hyperloop in Southern California.

Rahn, the transportation secretary, said the Boring Co. will start with two 35-mile tubes between Baltimore and Washington. Rahn said the company hopes to assemble its drilling machines at the Hanover site.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-hyperloop-in-baltimore-20171019-story.html

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop may have competition from a maglev train with $28 million in government funding

by Danielle Muoio (Business Insider), September 11, 2017

The Northeast Maglev (TNEM), a private company, was founded in 2011 with the goal of building a high-speed rail between New York and the country’s capital. TNEM wants to first build the route between Washington D.C. and Baltimore before eventually extending it to New York.

TNEM said its rail would be able to transport passengers between Washington D.C. and Baltimore in just 15 minutes. Traversing D.C. to New York would take an hour. By comparison, Amtrak’s Acela train, its fastest option, takes just under three hours.

Central Japan Railway Company Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV), U.S.- Japan MAGLEV, LLC (click on image for source)

A maglev train built by Central Japan Railway set a world speed record of 375 mph in 2015. The maglev will eventually connect Tokyo and Nagoya, but won’t open to the public until 2027.  Central Japan Railway, a private company, has said it will collaborate with TNEM on the US project.

TNEM has acquired a railroad franchise and a $28 million grant from Maryland’s Department of Transportation and Economic Development Corporation. The company has also collected $100 million in private funding.

Three alternate routes being considered for the Maglev between Baltimore and Washington. Dashed lines indicate section below ground. (Maryland Transit Administration – click on picture for image source)

Still, a maglev train won’t come cheap. The Baltimore-Washington D.C. route will alone cost “north of $10 billion,” Rogers said. He said tickets would cost “slightly more” than an Acela train, but declined to give specifics. “Tunneling is the main cost and the main driver of schedule,” he said.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tnem-maglev-challenge-elon-musk-hyperloop-2017-9

What is The Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV)?

SCMAGLEV is the latest advancement in the world of high-speed ground transportation. This revolutionary system is not your typical train. In development since 1962, the SCMAGLEV is a futuristic magnetic levitation system that uses powerful magnetic forces for all aspects of operation—acceleration, deceleration, guidance and levitation—resulting in operating speeds of over 300 miles per hour in everyday service, and travel times unlike anything traditional trains can achieve.

Rather than riding directly on standard steel railroad tracks, SCMAGLEV trains levitate between the walls of a unique concrete structure known as a guideway. The U-shaped guideway has walls surrounding the trains on both sides, making the system free from derailment.

http://www.bwmaglev.info/overview/what-is-scmaglev

Everything you wanted to know about bullet trains

by The Economic Times, September 18, 2017

What is a high speed railway?

There’s no standard definition, but a railway system designed for speeds above 250 kmph [155 mph] is generally called high speed — sections of these routes may have lower speed limits for safety reasons. Only 16 nations have high-speed railways — China boasts the world’s longest network with 27,000 km [about 17,000 miles] of such tracks. Japan, Spain, France and Germany are the others where tracks dedicated for high-speed trains stretch over 1,000 km [621 miles].

Japan Central’s N700 high speed train, with maximum speed of 177 mph
When was the first high-speed network built?

Japan’s high-speed line between Tokyo and Osaka was inaugurated in 1964; the famous Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ (named for its shape) could reach a speed of 210 kmph. In 1977, sections of the Florence-Rome line became Europe’s first high-speed railway at top speed of 250 kmph. The entire route was completed in 1992. The national French rail company started its first full high-speed line, between Paris and Lyons, on September 27, 1981, with top speed of 260 kmph.

Can these trains run on conventional tracks?

Most high-speed trains run on conventional tracks similar to conventional gauge systems, but built with stronger material. The train on such a track is likely to have two synchronised engines (power cars), one at either end. Most receive power from roof-mounted pantographs and overhead supply lines. A large part of route alignment is kept straight to support high speed. Although in most countries these trains operate on dedicated tracks, many can also run on conventional tracks at reduced speeds.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-bullet-trains/what-are-maglev-trains/slideshow/60731143.cms

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Get to know some of the Unite the Right rally participants and sympathizers

As a society, racism and the belief in white supremacy is deep in our DNA. It can be said that Christopher Columbus was the father of white supremacy in the Americas. The Civil War hardly extinguished this feature of the American psyche. Most of the monuments to the confederacy were erected in the early 1900s and following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As in the Civil War, the alt-right are our brothers and sisters, fellow Americans. THEY watch the same movies, participate in the same sporting events, go to the same restaurants as WE. They’re part of us.

And President Trump has given legitimacy to their platform. If the main-stream press is fake news, then the reports here must be what the President believes. We can only be a better country if we understand something about this illness that afflicts our body politic.  Here is a glimpse of some of the supporters of the Unite The Right Rally in Charlottsville, Va. on Saturday, August 12th; and an organization at the forefront of monitoring some 1,600 hate and extremist groups operating in this country.

Battle of Charlottesville: A Firsthand Account

by Lee Rogers (Daily Stormer),  August 13, 2017 [ABRIDGED]

I wanted to give everyone my first hand account of what I saw while everything is still fresh. The one thing I will say is that everything I’m seeing reported in the Jewish media about what happened yesterday is a lie. There’s nobody giving an accurate account. All I’ve seen is an endless parade of non-Whites and Jews spewing nonsense. I’ve yet to see a single person on any of the big cable news channels interview a single person from our side.

Here’s what really happened. At around 9 AM many of us began assembling at McIntire Park which is a short distance away from Lee Park. As we walked to [Lee Park] we were confronted by all sorts of degenerates. Continue reading Get to know some of the Unite the Right rally participants and sympathizers

How we got those highway signs with mileage of distant cities

I-70 west, at I-695 in Woodlawn

“Go West, Young Man”
June 04, 2007|By Rob Hiaasen (Baltimore Sun)

. . . . Tom Hicks, a state highway administrator in Maryland, decided to immortalize Cove Fort [the western terminus of I-70, in Utah] in the minds of Marylanders heading west out of Baltimore toward Frederick, Hagerstown and across nine other states connected by I-70. He and another highway man, Paul Farragut of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, got to thinking about a different kind of mileage sign, one with a bit of geographical whimsy and one that, for more practical reasons, would test a new type style. It’s not often an act of traffic engineering captures the imagination of, well, anyone.

“I was just excited that we have an interstate that ends and begins in our region,” says Farragut. He had never been to Cove Fort but was always amused by a sign Continue reading How we got those highway signs with mileage of distant cities

Contact your Local Senator and Delegates to Ban Rolling Coal in Maryland

For the second year in a row, Delegate Clarence Lam (Democrat District 12, Howard/Baltimore County) has introduced a bill (HB-11) to make rolling coal illegal in Maryland. And what is rolling coal?   

“Rollin’ Coal” Is Pollution Porn For Dudes With Pickup Trucks

January 13 is Korean-American Day in Maryland

On Friday, January 13, Maryland is one of several states and the federal government to celebrate Korean American Day. It honors the Korean American community’s contributions in the United States and commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants on January 13, 1903.  In 2005, the United Sates Congress passed resolutions supporting the goals and aspirations of Korean American Day.

republic-of-korea-war-service-medalI feel real kinship with Korean Americans. My father fought in the Korean War 1951-1952 and came to love Korean people and culture. He was thanked by conferral of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. As the son of my father, I have felt a partnership with Korea. I appreciate Korean-American’s contributions to our community.

http://www.keia.org/page/history-korean-american-day

Maryland road to be named ‘Korean Way’

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) — A section of a Maryland road will be named “Korean Way” in recognition of Koreans’ contribution to economic development and cultural diversity in the U.S. state, the office of Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday. Continue reading January 13 is Korean-American Day in Maryland

Current Status of Charter Schools in Maryland

Public Charter Schools have the potential to improve our education of elementary and secondary school students. I’ve learned this from my work the last eight years facilitating more effective financial management of these schools. It is disappointing, therefore, that Maryland/Howard County has made so little commitment to Public Charter Schools.  It is equally troubling that there is not better understanding of  what charter schools are. 

I have found that the agencies operating Charter Schools, like the nonprofit world in general, range from ineffective but well-intentioned, to cutting edge and well-managed. The former schools need to be closed by the authorizer. The latter need to be replicated for the good of all our kids. But there are real obstacles to charter schools achieving their potential in Maryland. Here’s a primer on what Charter Schools are all about.

Continue reading Current Status of Charter Schools in Maryland